Alright you naysayers…You were right!!!

Due to a poor Internet connection today while at sea, we are unable to post a single photo. Please check back tomorrow for our story and photos on our day trip to Marseilles.

With over 6000 people on this ship since embarking in Barcelona on May 1st, the 50 degree weather with no one at the pool, the Internet is literally clogged up with many passengers online at the same time. 
As a result, it appears impossible for us to post our photos from our day in Marseilles yesterday. I tried to no avail. They just won’t load. Tomorrow, when we’re in port, we’ll be able to use our MiFi for a great signal and ease of posting our story and photos.
Subsequently, we’re going to tell you a story today, sans photos, a story we can’t believe we’re writing, a tail-between-our-legs-story,  of learning, of mistake-making, of striving to become more adept at world travel, as-we-go.
For those of you who warned us, sit back and enjoy a smidgen of gloating, a smattering of chuckling and a general feeling of “I told you so” at your leisure.  We get it and don’t blame you.
Today, much to our disdain, we are packing, a full two days before its necessary since we don’t disembark this ship until Sunday, when we’ll spend a night in Barcelona before heading to Dubai on Royal Caribbean”sMariner of the Seas. Why pack so soon, you ask? Ha! Hear this, my friends!

WE’RE DONATING THREE FULLY PACKED SUITCASES OF OUR STUFF TO A CHARITY IN SPAIN with the help of Norwegian Epic’s guest services department and the port agent in Barcelona, more than willing to arrange the disposition of our stuff. Yes, the disposition of three of our brand new, now slightly damaged from handling, orange 30″ Antlerbags? Yes! Three? Yes, fully loaded! We had to lighten our load.

Ouch!  It hurts.  I just spent the past two hours going through every single item of my clothing, packing my share of which “to say goodbye,” newer, cute, fun, well fitting clothing, that I, as a “girlie girl,” had handpicked with meticulous detail. Gone. Bye, bye.

My single solitary…uno…one remaining suitcase that I get to keep is packed and ready to go. The remainder will be packed in the three orange bags to be picked up in a few hours from now, by Brian, the guest services king that helped us figure this out.

As I write this Tom is going through his clothing, item by item, minus any grumbling. I have promised to offer no opinions, no morsels of packing wisdom, since it turns out I don’t know a damned thing about packing, other than as to how to stuff as many things as possible into as many bags as possible. Who am I to opine, neophyte that I am?

By 5:00 PM today, we’ll each be down to the following:
1.  One 30″ orange Antler bag
2.  One small orange Antler carry-on bags
3.  One leather computer bag

Plus, purse for me (plus the cloth bag for our prescriptions)
Plus, the vitamins? We’re still figuring that out, but now, the small extra duffel bag contains receipts and copies of our doctor’s acknowledgment of our use of them. We may have to carry that separately.
We’ve set aside all of the clothing we’ll need for the next several days until we’re on board the new ship on May 6th, a mere three days from today. We’ll either toss them or stuff them in a bag.
Now, we’ll be flight worthy without extra fees for extra bags. Now, we won’t have to pay exorbitant fees to porters, skycaps and the like. Now, we won’t feel the burden of the excess weight, a strain on our aging bodies and equally aging minds. We’ll be free.

So go ahead, gloat, grin and giggle at us.  We accept it freely without judgment of your right to do so.

Tonight, as we sit at the bar, we’ll toast our new found freedom and all of you who “told us so!”
Tom will be happiest.

Update on temporary bed…

When we first arrived in Scottsdale Arizona 20 days ago, the temperature was in the 80’s.  We couldn’t turn on the air conditioning fast enough, sweating profusely as we unloaded our car of the eight orange Antler suitcases, flat screen TV (this won’t travel the world with us), and miscellaneous bags and boxes. 

In a matter of minutes the noisy air conditioning began to cool our condo as we eyeballed the inviting swimming pool outside our dining/living room floor length windows.  Ah, cool. Perhaps a swim was in order soon. 

Although winter hadn’t officially arrived in Minnesota when we left on Halloween, the chill was in the air, the leaves had turned to varying shades of rust and yellow, wearing a warm coat was in order and firing up the furnace for the season was a must.

In only a matter of days, we turned off the AC finding ourselves comfortable during the day in the 80 degree weather and more comfortable at night under two blankets while in the low 60’s.  How quickly we adapt.

Tom and I spent the last 10 years sleeping in a over-sized king Sleep Number bed divided into two sections, allowing for the mechanical raising and lowering of the head and foot by use of individual controls.  If one wanted to shake their legs, get in or out of bed during the night, toss and turn, the other wouldn’t feel any motion. 

The drawback of this particular bed was the difficulty of “cuddling” with the crack between the mattresses in the way.  As we planned our future travels, it was inevitable that we’d notice the type of bed in each property, most of which were standard double or queen beds without all the controls, the comfort, the special bedding and of course, the crack. 

We wondered if we’d have trouble sleeping together in a small bed.  As we’ve heard from time to time, some couples don’t sleep in the same bed, let alone the same bedroom.  With rampant sleep apnea, insomnia and snoring in the general population these days, it’s understandable that “special” sleeping arrangements must take precedence over night-after-night close quarters.

Recently, we’ve both sleep fairly well; Tom surprisingly finding that he’s catching up from years of poor sleep due to his work and me, falling into bed exhausted after an entire day of my little brain figuring out all this technology.   We don’t  snore nor do either of us suffer with sleep apnea.

The adjustment was purely comfort related.  Can we, after all these years, sleep in close quarters in a comparatively tiny bed?  Much to our amazement, we can.
Much to our amazement, we are both sleeping better than we have in years albeit with my wild nightly dreams of traveling.

I realize now, why I didn’t sleep well in the past, awakening first at midnight, later at 2:00 am and again at 4:00 am most nights, finally wide awake at 5:30 am, in time for Tom to get up for work.  I too, dragged myself out of bed, often tired but glad to be up, ending the battle to sleep.

Its different now.  For me, it wasn’t the body that couldn’t sleep.  It was the mind, never still, never willing to rest, often filled with useless drivel, meaningless to-do lists combined with worry over situations for which I had little or no control. 

I’ve always believed, right or wrong, that worry is only worthwhile if it motivates one to action that will ultimately solve the problem.  And yet, I worried, keeping me awake, night after night.

After the tumultuous end of life as we knew it in Minnesota, I made a conscious decision to let it all go.  Life is too short to waste a moment in a state of useless worry.  Nights are too long to spend tossing and turning, seeking the next morsel of concern to grab onto to further the fitful state of being.  Its over now. I’m free. Finally. I sleep.

Yes, I could worry about the wide array of scenarios that could go wrong as we travel the world for the next number of years, too many to list here. We all know what they are.  We’ve made every logical and sensible precaution possible. We continue to spend the bulk of each day in preparation.  This process will diminish soon, once we leave. 

The goal is clear.  We’ll have the planning under control when we leave the US on January 3, 2013, allowing us the freedom to live in the moment, observing and relishing in our surroundings, enjoying the people we meet, their culture and the sheer beauty and wonder of nature.

We’ll adapt to the weather, the time changes, the lack of air conditioning, the loss of our favorite TV shows, the poor Internet connection, the avoidance of ice in our drinks as necessary, the lack of availability of our favorite food, ingredients and beverages and, the not-so-comfy bed.

No matter where we may be or how primitive the environment, we’ll always be able to cuddle at night, hug during the day and sleep worry free at night… provided no wild animal is banging at the door.

Goodbye party on the point…Thank you…

Saturday, at 4:45 pm, after a laughter and tear-filled day spent with son Greg and daughter-in-law Camille, and going through a lifetime of photos, handing off precious bits of memorabilia, enjoying a homemade low carb gluten free pizza, we realized it was time to get ready and head down the street to our party.  

Scheduled to begin at 5 PM, it was a short walk of only four doors down the road to attend a going away peninsula party, hosted for us by our friend Sue.

Twenty six years of blissful dinner parties, cocktail parties, cocktail cruises on the lake, lawn parties, neighborhood parties, 4th of July celebrations, graduations, holidays and birthday parties.  Ironically, each of the three husbands in every other of five houses in a row on the point were born on December 23rd, which included my Tom, Doug and Chip. Coincidence?

(And most recently, hundreds of friends and family members came to celebrate his life and to grieve the loss of our dear friend Chip, Sue’s loving husband’s memorial service at the nearby University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He would have wanted a party, but it was hard to celebrate without him there. Then again, he was there in all of our hearts).

The thoughtfulness, the love and the generosity of a friend, amid the throes of such loss, such grief, so zealously decided to throw a party for us. Mind boggling. Beautifully executed. Gluten-free foods for us. Our neighbors, our friends, in attendance, happy for us, wishing us a great adventure, interminable safety and relentless freedom.

We couldn’t have had more fun. Thank you, dear Sue. Thank you dear friends. How lucky and grateful we are.

Sunday morning, we faced yet another day of seemingly endless list of “to do’s.” Starting our day with a big breakfast of free range organic eggs fried in a dab of coconut oil, topped with guacamole, nitrate free bacon, a thick slab of nitrate free ham and organic chicken sausage with spinach and feta cheese, we were fueled for the day.  

Since we started this way of eating almost 15 months ago, we aren’t hungry all day. Formerly grazers, it’s a pleasant sensation to be comfortably satiated all day, free of the endless search for the next “food fix.”  

Eating low carb, gluten/grain/starch/sugar free diet prevents the addictive centers of the brain from crying for a constant fix of high carb foods. Over the past year I’ve been following the new research that is emerging daily clearly defining that our relentless hunger is a result of blood sugar spikes and brain chemistry.  

By eating a moderate protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet, we have found it easy to stop thinking about eating, simply enjoying two delicious and satisfying meals a day. More on this later.

So, we hauled our six orange Antler suitcases to our friend Karen’s home where we will reside from the night of October 24th until the day we leave Minnesota, October 31st.  

The thought of staying in our house during the estate sale seemed preposterous to us and to our estate sale guy, Jim Anderson.  Most likely, the furniture will sell first. If returning during the sale, we’d witness the vacant spot where our two comfy chairs had been or, see strangers traipsing down the road with their arms loaded with our stuff.  No thank you.

It’s unusual for us to stay in another’s home.  We seldom traveled over these past years together, rarely feeling compelled to leave the lake or our pups (dog lovers understand). When we did, we stayed in hotels, fearful of imposing upon others in varying parts of the country. 

Let’s face it. I am not the easiest house guest.  Tom is.  Not me.  My family and friends accept my cooking and eating habits along with my endless array of eccentricities around the house; nary a dish in the sink or an item of clothing left in the laundry basket.  

Of course, my ultimate desire is to avoid making others uncomfortable with my peculiarities. Thus, I am somewhat of a “closet” perfectionist. 

It is only this confession that so clearly reveals why all the details of the planning of this year’s long adventure is not laborious to me.  It fuels my passion for the infinitesimal, researched and documented until there is no more. Then, the finale, let it go and enjoy it.    

Thank you, dear husband Tom for accepting my eccentricities with your usual aplomb and great sense of humor, for teaching me to laugh at myself and not taking it all so seriously.

So, house guests, we will be.  I will temper my ways, saving room for the relentless teasing I have so welcomed over the years while trying to simply enjoy the process.  

In 9 days, we move out for good.  In 16 days, we leave.  Thank you, family. Thank you, friends. Thank you, husband. Thank you, God, for them, for the joy they’ve given us and for that which the world has yet to offer.

First aid in the world…

Soon it will be too late to order any further supplies for our journey.  Many items (always new, unopened and unused) come from all over the world often requiring four to six weeks delivery time.  

As of this coming upcoming Wednesday, we’ll leave Minnesota on Halloween, in exactly six weeks. We won’t be able to conveniently receive packages after we leave. (More on receiving mail next month).

As a result of these time constraints, my thoughts went into full gear, reviewing every item we are packing in addition to our completed wardrobes, to analyze if there are any items we may need.

A month ago while cleaning cupboards and drawers, I started gathering first aid items, creating a homemade “kit” placing everything in a sturdy plastic bag: Band-aids, sterile pads and gauze, antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide, liquid bandage, ace bandage, knee supporter, shoulder sling, temporary ice packs and a heating pad.  

Let’s face it, those of us folks over 60 may have aches and pains from time to time. Adding some Aleve, Tylenol, and Motrin to our kit made it feel complete.  

The first aid kit securely packed in an orange Antler bag, (we paid $111 each a few months ago. Note price increase), I felt confident that any additional items we may need most likely could be purchased at any nearby grocery store or pharmacy.  

Why bring all of these items when we could purchase them in any country? Simply for economic reasons. While living in the 17th century renovated farmhouse in Tuscany all next summer we’ll be renting a car from time to time.  
Daily, we’ll walk to the open market for items for dinner, a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine. Perhaps once a week, we’ll rent a car for a day or two to drive the five miles to a grocery store, take a drive to explore the area and dine at a recommended restaurant.  

Upon returning the rental car, we’ll travel on foot until the next week, perhaps going on a local daily four mile walking tour of historical homes and buildings.

Cooking dinner with the farm fresh ingredients, let’s say I cut my finger, not requiring stitches, a common occurrence in our kitchen. The first aid kit prevents the cost of a cab, the inflated price at the pharmacy for supplies and, peace of mind.  

The achy knee, the pinched shoulder, so familiar in our day-to-day lives, are easily treated at home with our own supplies and over-the-counter products.  

With one third of our time on cruises during the first five months, these items may come in handy.  Have you ever seen a final bill on a cruise after a trip to the medical clinic for a minor injury?  A cut finger, antibiotic cream and a bandage  from a visit with the nurse or doctor, may result in a $300 bill. That’s one expensive Band-aid!

Over the past month additional thoughts for preparedness of the kit kept popping into my mind eventually driving me back to  

Here are the items we added to the kit. (Amazon prevents easy “copy and paste” features of their items.  Please excuse the formatting).

Recapit No Mix Cement, Maximum Strength, 1 g.
Imagine the benefit of having this product hand when hesitant to see a dentist in a remote area!

Dental Tarter Scraper and Remover Set, SS

by Osung

Price: $43.95
Sale: $31.95
You Save: $12.00 (27%)
Dental Tarter Scraper and Remover Set, SS
With the help of an online training program
we’ll learn how to perform basis teeth cleaning procedures until our next dental appointment.


Recapit No Mix Cement, Maximum Strength, 1 g.

Price: $4.65 ($2.91 / oz)
3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4'' X 3'' - 10 Packages of 3
Imagine the benefit of having this product on hand
when cut is deep but not requiring stitches.

3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3 By STERI
4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews) | Like

Price: $6.75


Certainly, most doctors or dentists would cringe at our planned self-treatment.  We understand the risks.  Our goal will always be to put safety first, never taking outrageous risks with our lives of limbs.

Part of the magic of our adventure is to go where we want to go, that is safe for travelers; when we want to go, within the confines of our rental agreements and transportation schedules; continue on as long as we mutually desire, and for as long as our health allows.

Freedom…with certain reasonable constraints.  Nonetheless…freedom. 

A vacuum travels the world!

Mini vacuum weighing 1.7 pounds, perfect for use to suck the air out of with the Space Bags

Yesterday was a productive day.

Tom decided to tackle his mountain of papers; in his closet, in the magazine rack next to his comfy chair in the kitchen and atop the bistro table in the family room.  

He began stockpiling papers many months ago while sifting through the hundreds of photos he eventually scanned from a box he borrowed from his older sister Patty, in order to upload them to his ever growing file in   

The box now back in Patty’s possession, but the piles of not-so-neatly stacked papers remained, creating havoc in our otherwise (formerly) tidy household. I have to get over being “tidy” in the next 59 days.  It’ll only get worse.

Yesterday, after some gentle prodding (I’m not a nag. He’s not lazy.), Tom decided to begin the process of clearing out the chaos.  Often working 12 hour days with two hours of driving time, five days a week, the weekends have always been a vital time for him to relax and recover while dutifully fixing things around the house and helping me with the heavy lifting.  No more relaxing, my darling.  Time is marching on.  

As he busily and cheerfully worked on his papers in the magazine rack, a big glass of iced tea at his side, the TV on to political rantings in the background, I decided to investigate the storage space under the cushions of the small banquet in the corner of the kitchen.  Digging through the vast array of items stuffed into the small space, I discovered a most useful item, a tiny handheld vacuum. Hum. Interesting.

Small banquet area in our kitchen 

My mind was taking off on its usual whirl of wild thoughts, I excitedly showed Tom the forgotten little Shark vacuum.  Grabbing his hand, I dragged him and the little vacuum to the pile of suitcases sitting on the daybed in the living room, where we had the six large Antler suitcases and the six boxes of Space Bags (each containing three large sized storage bags).  

My rational when buying the bags from, was to fill each suitcase with three of the bags and thus condense the packing. Knowing full well that I’d never be able to vacuum seal the bags since we’d hardly be able to bring a vacuum cleaner around the world, I figured we’d be able to “press” the air out of the bags as recommended in the instructions.

Recently, as mentioned in this blog, I packed one suitcase, for the heck of it, to see how it would work squeezing out the air of three Space Bags. Slightly disappointed with my air pressing skills, I discovered it was a two person job, resigning to repack the bags with Tom’s help in the near future.  Alone, I was only able to reduce the size of the filled bags by about 20%.

Little vacuum in hand, Tom hauled the suitcase onto the bed and together we proceeded to use the vacuum to “suck” out the air via the special hole in the bag. Alas! Success! The size of the clothing filled bags was reduced by no less than 60%, leaving room in the suitcase for 12 pairs of shoes, underwear and 15 bottles of vitamins!  Wow!  

With three large Space Bags for each of six large suitcases, we will be able  to fit all of our belongings.  When we get to Scottsdale, two months before leaving the US and departing on our 15 day cruise to the Panama Canal, we decided we will have time to repack, designating two bags each as “cruise wear,” thus leaving the others unopened and hopefully tucked away.  

The suitcases stack quite well, taking up only 28″ X 19″ of floor space.  In booking the seven cruises so far, we’ve selected no less than balcony cabins and in some cases, suites, both of which provide additional floor space.  

Yes, we will be a little cramped, but with a balcony on which to lounge while overlooking the sea, we’ll be content.  With many activities on the cruises, I doubt we’ll spend much time in our cabin.

By the end of the day yesterday, all three of my large suitcases were packed using nine of the vacuum sealed Space Bags, Tom’s piles of papers were considerably smaller and dinner was on the table.  In the evening, after a lovely gluten free, low carb, grain free dinner, we relaxed in our usual comfy chairs in the family room for a delightful evening of idle chatter and vigorous channel surfing.  

The three bags on the right with wheels forward are my packed bags. Lots of stuff.

For the first time in months, I slept through the night, awakening at 5:30 am ready to tackle another day. Next weekend, we’ll pack Tom’s belongings in the same manner, he’ll finish up the papers and we’ll be one step closer to our worldwide adventure.

Hey, if I ever get bored, I can always vacuum!

Orange luggage & boots update…

You can tell by the little bulging muscle on the right side of my calf that I have tried to no avail, exercising my calves to build them up. If a scorpion or other such creature sees this gap in the boots, they may find it an appealing hiding place.This may warrant a visit to the shoe repair store.

Orange luggage, yes!  Fabulous!  Top quality!  Lightweight! The four giant boxes and two smaller boxes arrived on Friday afternoon.  How easily I lifted them into the house!  The Fed Ex guy even commented on the lightweight big boxes, curious as to the contents, amazed when I told him it was luggage.

Carefully, a little knife in hand, I slit the tape off the over sized boxes to easily pull out the orange bags.  Squealing like a kid, I couldn’t open them quickly enough, tossing one on the bed to unzip and inspect further.

The orange isn’t a Halloween pumpkin orange or the color of a naval orange.  It is subtle, definitely orange, comparable to the color of the mashed sweet potatoes, under the fluffy pillow of melted marshmallows to be devoured on Thanksgiving day. (We don’t eat that dish anymore…or even the sweet potatoes for that matter; too much sugar, too many carbs, too much starch.)

The bags are deep, well constructed, easy to zip.  Within minutes I loaded up one of the luggage carts with three of the 30″ Antler Bags, topped off with one of  the new orange carry on bags.  Yes, I knew they were empty. I wanted to see how well the four items would fit on the luggage cart.  Perfect!

Of course, when they are loaded to the brim with our “stuff” it will be different but…it will be manageable. I was thrilled.  Last night, I ordered two more of the 30″ orange bags after I sheepishly told Tom we’d each need three, not two of the bags.  

I’d expected him to flinch when he heard we’d need three 30″ bags.  He didn’t. He smiled at me, reminded of our somewhat preposterous situation, leaving everything behind, taking everything we need with us for the next three years, five years, ten years.  Who knows?  

We’ll manage. We’ll manage with a grin on our faces.  And when the bags feel really heavy, toppling off the cart, landing on a well-booted foot, we will smile, stop, help each other and keep moving on. This we know for sure.

And, my Clark lace up boots arrived on Thursday during the jewelry sale.  I didn’t open the box right away.  I had spent so much time looking online, that I wanted to prolong the anticipation a little longer, preferring to stay preoccupied with the sale.  

Returning home from taking down the hot pink “for sale” signs, I opened the box, feeling giddy over the great find, only to be sorely disappointed when I tried them on.  

The foot, a perfect fit, the calf, a fiasco!  I had measured my skinny calves before buying the boots, checking the detailed description of each possibility to ensure a good fit.  They called it “shaft circumference.”  The description stated a 14″ shaft circumference.  My calves measured 12.5″ leaving adequate room to tuck in pants to keep out 6″ scorpions.  They lied.

The shaft circumference measured 16.5″, leaving room for both of my hands to reach inside.  An entire scorpion family could reside in there.  No thank you. Now what?  Back to the computer, searching “skinny calf boots,  thin calf boots, narrow calf boots, skinny leg boots?  No!!!

Friday morning, before friends were arriving for breakfast I started calling local shoe repair store.  Yes, most likely, it can be done…the shaft can be made smaller, for a price, of course. 

“Bring them in for an estimate. It could be $70 or more,” says Bob of Bob’s Shoe Repair in Wayzata, Minnesota, where 30 years ago, maybe 40, I’d go to get shoes repaired.  Who repairs shoes these days?  Gosh, I sound old.

Monday morning, off to Wayzata I’ll go with the Clark boots.  Thus far, I’ve invested $149.98 plus shipping for a total of $161.98.  This could translate into a total investment of $250.  But, the end result may be a perfectly fitted, well constructed, long lasting, timelessly stylish, safe from scorpions, sure footed pair of comfortable boots, lasting for years,  that I will be wearing as we dash down the concourse to our gate.

Next to my sweetie, I’ll be wheeling one of our 250 pound capacity two wheeled carts, loaded up with three 30″ orange Antler bags, an orange Antler carry on bag, a laptop backpack, a handbag for me, a man purse for Tom (called a murse) heading to our next adventure. Homeless?  Yep!  Harried?  For sure! Happy?  Undoubtedly!

Fitting clothes into suitcases…

Tom’s clothing, hoping it will all fit into one bag

Yes, I suppose I’m bent on fitting every possible item, clothing and otherwise, into two suitcases and one carry-on each.  The prospect of being unable to replace our clothing, toiletries and electronics online for at least three years, without paying exorbitant shipping fees, intimidates me.
Our budget for these three an more years of traveling is forefront in my mind. These two major concerns have been a frequent topic in our lives and this blog:

  1. Excess airline baggage fees, upwards of $800 per bag per person, for our two to three upcoming flights in and out of Africa
  2. Hauling extra heavy baggage to and from rental cars to rental houses, taxis to cruise ships and taxis to airports
Yesterday, to allay some of my fears (Tom doesn’t seem worried at all) I neatly stacked the bulk of our clothing (more to purchase) to actually see how much would fit into one of each of our suitcases, subsequently weighing each bag.
Tom’s clothing fit into one bag!

Not surprisingly, my clothes didn’t fit into the one bag. (We’ll get back to that in a minute).  My fear was never wrapped around Tom’s clothes fitting into one bag.  Not for a moment!

His second bag will include two dress shirts, one sport coat, one lightweight jacket, three ties, six pairs socks, twelve pair underwear, six pairs shoes, toiletries, four swimsuits, tee-shirts and two belts. This can be done.  His carry-on will include electronics, emergency clothes, prescriptions (in the event of lost luggage) and snacks.  His empty suitcase weighs 13.4 pounds, filled it weighed 47.8 pounds, which is over the weight limit on some airlines.
My clothing, hoping it will all fit into one bag.

Now, for my situation.  I can leave behind my frequently used kitchen gadgets, my antique dishes, my favorite winter clothes and jackets, the bulk of my “real” and costume jewelry, my varied selection of handbags and my fluffy slippers and robes.  

But, I won’t leave behind the essence of the persona that connotes who I am as a woman, including daily use of various cosmetics (three year’s supply), and matching outfits that must endure repeated washings.  

The matching tanks, the layering camis, the tops, the bottoms, the dresses, short or long; shoes, including sandals, workout shoes, the “cute” pink Crocs, comfy Minnetonka Moccasins, spiky high heels; cool pjs; the costume jewelry and all the items that assist a girl in feeling “put together” will accompany us around the world in heavy, bulky suitcases. 
As a result of my “girly” mentality, the piles of clothes didn’t fit into my huge suitcase. In our bedroom, there currently is a large plastic tote half filled with the overflow.  I have yet to add the following:  two dressy dresses for formal nights aboard ship, more shoes, more underwear, two sets of workout clothes, one lightweight jacket, more shoes, more shoes and more shoes. 

As for my carry-on bag, it will include cosmetics, prescriptions, overflow electronics from Tom’s carry-on and of course, emergency clothing.

My empty suitcase weighs 15.2 pounds. Loaded up it weighs 48.7 pounds.  By adding the dreaded second bags, our checked baggage totals will be approximately 100 pounds each, way over the limit of any airline. (Cruise ships don’t weigh the bags).  

Yesterday, Tom and I discussed this situation at length.  He finally put my mind at ease with this simple statement, lovingly expressed, “No worry, Sweetie.  As the time gets closer, we will either prepay for the additional baggage online when we book our reservations or, if that doesn’t work well, we’ll talk to the airlines and figure it out.”  

“In the worst case, we’ll bite the bullet, pay to have the extra bags shipped or get a storage facility in Rome for the 8 months while we’ll be living in Africa, just taking our BugsAway clothes and the basics.” 
Thanks Honey, for helping me let go of this worry in order to go back to packing up our lives, figuring out how we’ll receive our prescriptions, arranging our international phone and Internet service, purchasing and setting up two new laptops and an external hard drive, downloading no less than 100 movies, scanning another 500 photos,  buying our emergency travel insurance, getting duplicate copies of our passports, getting residency and driver’s licenses in another state, completing our vaccinations and medical appointments, going through every cupboard, closet, drawer and file cabinet in our entire house (26 years later), acquiring a new mailing address, buying a new camera (and learning how to use it!) and on and on and on.
We’ll get excited when the above tasks are completed.